Closing the Gap – Week 41 Study Guide

1 John 1:5-10, This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.


Commentary on 1 John 1:5-10

“God is light” (1:5). To sense the significance of this statement, imagine yourself stumbling through a strange place on the darkest of nights. All you can see is shadows that frighten and confuse. And then, suddenly, a bright light shines on the scene and you can see everything clearly. There are no more illusions, no more imagined fears. Now at last you can find your way safely, for you can see every obstacle for what it really is. In the spiritual realm darkness blinds human beings, forcing the lost to live in a world of illusion. Only if we walk in the light shed by God through His Word can we see things for what they really are—and respond appropriately.

“Live by the truth” (1:6). A basic meaning of both the [Hebrew] and [Greek] words translated “truth” is “in full harmony with reality.” If we are to have fellowship with God, we must not only see things as they are, but we must live by the reality thus revealed.

Purified from every sin (1:7). Some have taken the “light” as sinlessness. But this verse tells us that when we walk in the light, Christ’s blood purifies us from every sin. If we are honest with ourselves and God we will see our sins in the light of God’s Word—and will appeal to Christ for purification.

“Without sin” (1:8). Don’t ever suppose that salvation makes a person sinless. And don’t dismiss anger as righteous indignation, or vindictiveness as justice. Sin is our constant companion and will be, until Jesus comes and we are transformed into His likeness. Only if you and I recognize our vulnerability and are honest about our failures, will we remain in fellowship with God and grow.

Confess sins (1:9–10). The [Greek] word “confess” is homologeo, which means “speak the same thing,” i.e., acknowledge. Confessing sins is not “saying you’re sorry.” It is agreeing with God that a particular act is sin—and thus taking sides with Him and against yourself. What happens if we confess our sins? Then God forgives our sins and continues the process of purification from unrighteousness the Spirit has begun in us. What happens if we make excuses, or refuse to acknowledge a particular act was sin? We put up a barrier between ourselves and God. In essence, we deny that His word about our sinful act is true and cut ourselves off from His transforming power.[1]


Study Guide: 

  1. Demonstrating an open and honest life: What does this Heart Attitude (HT) not mean? What does the HT mean?
  2. We would describe the heart attitude of demonstrating an open and honest life as: Trusting God with your reputation, your image, with your fears and insecurities. What has this looked like for you?
  3. People are challenged by your strengths and encouraged by your weakness. They need appropriate honesty and visibility in both. Why is this true? How has it looked in your own life? Give an example.
  4. Why is demonstrating an open and honest life essential for growth personally/relationally and for the thriving of your church family?
  5. Read verses 5-6. To live open and honest, we need light, light to be able to see and to be seen. Why is this essential to demonstrating an open and honest life?
  6. What is the role of the church and why is it important that we walk in the fellowship of the light?
  7. How do we actually, practically…live an open and honest life in the fellowship of the light?
  8. What role does forgiveness play in demonstrating an open and honest life? Think in terms of both living forgiven and forgiving.
  9. Terry said, “Small groups are the primary way this heart attitude is worked out of us and worked into us.” What did he mean by this?
  10. If you are enjoying the fellowship of the light, what is one key thing that can take you out? What can you do today to avoid being taken out? Will you do it? There is an ongoing invitation to live open an honest life, what does that invitation look like for you personally?


[1] Richards, L. O. (1991). The Bible reader’s companion (electronic ed., p. 892). Wheaton: Victor Books.

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